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Questions about installing Chris King headsets.(16 posts)

Questions about installing Chris King headsets.nigel
Nov 29, 2001 7:43 AM
Hey,

I'll be asking for (and therefore getting, if I know my wonderful wife well enough) a Chris King headset for Xmas. The stock 105 number that came on my Giant TCR2 insists on coming out of adjustment every few rides. A simple enough re-adjustment, but it shouldn't happen.

I thought I read on the board here that there was something different about installing King headsets (besides the fact that I'll never need to touch my headset ever again). Since I'd probably be doing the installation, is there anything special that I need to know before getting it? A special tool or trick? Should I simply let a shop put it on, since they've done it a hundred times before and I haven't?

Thanks a heap for any suggestions,

Nige
Let a shop do it unless you have the tools & experience. [nm]davidl
Nov 29, 2001 7:50 AM
re: Questions about installing Chris King headsets.Dave Hickey
Nov 29, 2001 7:58 AM
I installed my King myself. I used my normal method of two blocks of wood and a hammer. I works perfect
Further Savingsgrzy
Nov 29, 2001 11:11 AM
Why not use a brick instead of a hammer and some chunks of firewood instead of actual blocks - think of the savings.

You can't honestly endorse this method as being reliable, getting the cups parallel, not without risk of doing damage or otherwise idiot proof. Yeah, I know we debated this very issue about four weeks ago, but you might as well true your wheels with the same hammer - after all it *does* work also.

The cups on a $100 HS should be set correctly - otherwise you've got no business buying one of these things. Spending the cake on the unit but then being too cheap to install it correctly is a contradiction in the absurd. It's like buying a Mercedes and then using retreads when it's time for new tires. Right up there with peeling gum off the underside of tables and then chewing it. Yeah, you can do all of these things, but why would you?
I disagreeDave Hickey
Nov 29, 2001 1:05 PM
I do all my own work on my bikes. If it works, I don't see the reason in buying press tools. If I want to spend $100 on a headset and screw it up installing it, thats my problem. I'm confident enough in my abilities to intall it correctly. I also have a threaded rod and washers, but my King was installed fine with a couple of blocks of wood and a hammer. It is straight and works fine. I heard all the arguments about press tools and bottom bracket facing and I get along just fine without them.
If someone is not comfortable doing the work themselves, than by all means, go to a LBS and let them install it.
FYI, I do have a spoke wrench to true my wheels. I'm not that cheap.
re: Questions about installing Chris King headsets.TJeanloz
Nov 29, 2001 8:05 AM
It is recommended by Chris King that you install their headset using their cup adapters. Not doing so voids their high-and-mighty ten year warranty. The tools cost about $75 wholesale; so you're probably better off leaving this one to a shop.
Have the shop press in the cups, the rest is easy.js5280
Nov 29, 2001 8:37 AM
Just built up a MTB frame (Santa Cruz Superlight) including a new headset. I tried the $3 head press (see http://forums13.consumerreview.com/crforum?14@@.ee9226d/15 ) but couldn't get them to go in properly. Took it down to the LBS, paid $10, and they pressed them in for me. Probably easiest to have them punch out the old headset too rather than buying the tool to do it. $20 is cheaper than a ovalized headtube and potentialy ruined frame. A Park Headset press is going to be $100 and those CK cup adapators will be additional, not sure of their price.

After that, it's pretty easy to do the rest yourself. Just make sure to keep the headset parts in proper order and be careful driving in the star nut. My guess is you'll need to drive the old one completely out unless it happens to fit the new CK one. You can drive it out the bottom, pry/drill it out, or just far enough in so you can set the new one on top, your call. A wooden dowel rod works great for this. Last tip, make sure the stem is loose before tightening the top cap otherwise you're just crushing the two together and not snugging up the crown to the head tube. Busted a plastic top cap doing that, D'oh!
Why not have the shop do it all?bikedodger
Nov 29, 2001 9:45 AM
I can't believe that the shop would charge significantly more to install the headset than to just press in the cups. You're already there so why not have them do it all?

Mike
$40 more in my case. Since his tube is cut already, the only...js5280
Nov 29, 2001 10:04 AM
slightly challenging task is the star nut. Okay, I'm a pennypincher, I ride an Airborne because in large part it's a good value. I spent that $30 toward a Ti seatpost (also Airborne) and learned about threadless headsets and how they work. Only a $6 learning curve mistake, had to get a new headset cap when busted the plastic one. Although it is a sweet looking red alloy one that matches other parts of the bike.
I see.bikedodger
Nov 29, 2001 10:12 AM
I understand now. $30 to $40 is not what I consider insignificant either.

Mike
I installed mine with the park cup setting toolsspookyload
Nov 29, 2001 8:37 AM
It works just fine. The Chris King tool he is referring to isn't even owned by most shops, they will use the park tool. After installing the fork, we looked for signs of damage so unless they look with an x-ray I don't know how they would find any damage.
How I've done it many timesSpokeman
Nov 29, 2001 10:10 AM
The special install tool for CK headset basically aligns the cup and puts the pressure on the outside of the cup, rather than the bearing.

So, what I've done is use a Park tool to start the cups and get them straight (the pressure on the bearing to do that is minimal), then I flip the install tools so the large flat section pushes against the outer lip of the cup, and then drive it home. Thus, no pressure is on the bearing.

If you are careful you can do the same thing with a 1/2" threaded rod and 2 large 1/2" drive sockets. Use the large flat section of the socket to push against the cup. You just need to make sure that you keep the cups straight when starting. Crooked cups= split headtube.

Of course all this is based on the assumption that the headtube is properly prepped. If not, let your LBS do it.
Thanks a lot, all. I've learned some things.nigel
Nov 29, 2001 5:06 PM
Since I don't have any of these pricey and specialized tools, I'll let the guys at my LBS do the installation. I'm kind of surprised that a shop would charge $40, but time IS money, and competent wrenches are worth every penny.

Thanks for all of the opinions and advice. As I've no experience with this task (and can't afford to make a mistake with this type of job), I'll bring it to the shop.

Top marks,
Nigel
from my experience...dupe
Nov 30, 2001 8:06 AM
nige,

sometimes is worth buying things like headsets from the lbs stores here in new york and get them to fit it.

a bit of nouse and honesty will have them fit it for you at a reduced price. none of them can compete with web prices but they can make it favorable. they make a sale and move stock. and should something go wrong if they are not responsible they can make faster warranty claims. most understand that i will buy over the web but know that i spend what i can with them. as a business they have to understand this as even high end spenders are asking them to offer something in return for the premium they are paying for.

$40 is steep.

oh, in answer to your question. im just a bike junkie. will be looking to put the miles in before april and join a club and do a few cat 4/5's. after 10 years out of the sport i have rediscovered the joy and also the pain ($$$) of the sport/way of life. but to be honest i have not really dug most of the people i have joined on rides and im sure they have felt the same of me. some of them take themselves too seriously - i dont see why if its a nice day i shouldn't be able to stop at a restaurant/cafe/bar with outdoor seating for an old-school rest and refill. beats chewing tiny packets of gunk and cytomax anyday.

ciao, ben
We're in similar situations, it seems.nigel
Nov 30, 2001 8:23 AM
Ben,

I got back into cycling last year after almost exactly ten years off as well. I got a new bike, rode and rode, and have now decided (going against my original plans when I got the bike in January) to race again. Plenty of joy to be had on a bike, ya know. I've been known to hang around the Runcible Spoon in Nyack as quick-stopping groups of riders come and go, enjoying the morning/afternoon as well. Then, though, there are times I'll ride to Bear Mountain and back without stopping (snacking on packets of this and that), just so I know I can do it.

I should probably price the King 'set at local shops, just to see if it'll be worth it (maybe they can offer me an all-inclusive package with installation). Good suggestion, mate.

Cheers, and I'll see you out there,
Nige
from my experience...dupe
Nov 30, 2001 9:24 AM
nige,

sometimes is worth buying things like headsets from the lbs stores here in new york and get them to fit it.

a bit of nouse and honesty will have them fit it for you at a reduced price. none of them can compete with web prices but they can make it favorable. they make a sale and move stock. and should something go wrong if they are not responsible they can make faster warranty claims. most understand that i will buy over the web but know that i spend what i can with them. as a business they have to understand this as even high end spenders are asking them to offer something in return for the premium they are paying for.

$40 is steep.

oh, in answer to your question. im just a bike junkie. will be looking to put the miles in before april and join a club and do a few cat 4/5's. after 10 years out of the sport i have rediscovered the joy and also the pain ($$$) of the sport/way of life. but to be honest i have not really dug most of the people i have joined on rides and im sure they have felt the same of me. some of them take themselves too seriously - i dont see why if its a nice day i shouldn't be able to stop at a restaurant/cafe/bar with outdoor seating for an old-school rest and refill. beats chewing tiny packets of gunk and cytomax anyday.

ciao, ben